Ways to Invest & Wealth Management
Investment Planning & Saving Plans
Investments are one of the cornerstones of a strong financial plan. Investment planning and wealth management can help you reach your short-term or long-term financial goals by letting your money work for you. Our BIG financial advisors can help you make a financial plan for your future, investing your money to get the best returns within your risk tolerance.
In order to better understand investments and make wise financial decisions, take the time to familiarize yourself with these basic concepts.
A risk is the potential that you may lose your money in an investment. It can also be used to describe the level of uncertainty regarding what you will earn or lose on your investment. Almost every type of investment involves some risk. In general, higher risks have the potential to yield higher returns.
Return on Investment (ROI)
The ‘return’ you receive on your investment is defined as the profit or growth you make with your invested money. ROI varies significantly and cannot be predicted with 100% accuracy.
You can receive investment returns in the form of income, which includes interest or dividends. You can also see investment returns through increased value (capital gain), which allows you to sell your investment for a profit.
Your investments can lose money with a negative return, also known as “capital loss.”
Risk tolerance is a measure of how comfortable you are with risk and how much variability in investments you are willing to withstand in your financial planning. Your age, financial goals, job stability, and comfort all play a part in determining your level of risk tolerance. A financial advisor can help you determine what level of risk is best for you.
The liquidity of an asset or investment refers to how easily and quickly you can cash in or sell them. Most stocks and savings accounts are examples whereas a home would be considered an illiquid asset. Liquidity may be a determining factor if have short term financial goals for your savings.
Diversification refers to the combination of different classes of investments which can help to reduce your overall risk. Two ways to diversify your investments are: portfolio diversification and asset allocation.
Portfolio diversification is a mix of investments that reduces risk. When you hold a variety of investments, it less likely that all of them will lose value at the same time. If you only own one stock and that company loses value, you could lose all of the money you invested.
Asset allocation is a mix of different asset classes in your investment portfolio (ie. stocks, bonds and cash). Having different types of assets, reduces the risk that all assets will lose value at the same time.
Savings Accounts – Investment Vehicles
There are a few different savings plans available that can help you meet your short-term and long-term financial goals. Each savings account acts as a “container” for your money, which can be invested in stocks, bonds, equity shares, segregated funds, etc. Your BIG financial advisor will be able to fine-tune your investments according to your financial goals, and comfortability with risk.
Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
A Tax-Free Savings Account allows you to put money in eligible investments. Unlike RRSPs, contributions to a TFSA are not deductible for tax purposes. The advantage is that anything you earn from interest, dividends, or capital gains is tax-free. You also have the freedom to withdraw from your account tax-free at any point.
Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
An RRSP is generally used for the purpose of savings towards retirement income. Both you and a legal spouse or common-law partner may contribute to the plan. Most RRSP contributions are deductible and can be used to reduce your taxes each year. The savings are exempt from tax while the funds remain in the plan. At any point that you receive payments from the plan, either upon retirement or other financial need, you will pay tax on the money received.
There are many ways that you can use your RRSP for financial benefits in the present such as: Home Buyer’s Plan (HMB) for first-time home-buyers, Life Long Learning Plan (LLP) for continuing education, contributing to a Spousal RRSP to lower your taxes, and so much more!
Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
A Registered Education Savings Plan is intended to help you save for your child’s post-secondary education. When you open an RESP, you will name a beneficiary (your child) and begin to make contributions. The government also contributes a percentage through grant programs such as the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG), Canada Learning Bond (CLB), or other provincial education savings programs. The amount contributed remains untaxed until it is withdrawn from the plan in Educational Assistance Payments, at which point the student must claim it as income. Since many students have little or no other income, they can usually withdraw the money tax-free.
Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
A registered disability savings plan helps parents and others save for the long-term financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit. Contributions can be made until the beneficiary turns 59 and the contributions are not tax deductible. Money withdrawn from the contributions are considered income for the beneficiary. Any money received from the Canada disability savings grant, the Canada disability savings bond, investment income earned in the plan and proceeds from rollovers are included in the beneficiary’s income for tax purposes.
Types of Investments
An annuity is a contract made with an insurance company where you contribute a lump-sum payment or series of payments and in return receive guaranteed regular payments. Annuities are usually used for retirement income and come in three varieties: fixed, variable and indexed. An annuity that starts payments immediately is called an immediate annuity. Annuities beginning on a predetermined date in the future are called deferred annuity.
Segregated funds are set by an insurance company as a pooled investment and is segregated from the general capital of the company. Unlike a mutual fund, a segregated fund guarantees a minimum percentage (75%-100%) of the investor’s contributions will be returned at the time of maturity regardless of fund performance. Segregated funds also protected from creditors: if you face a lawsuit of bankruptcy, your segregated funds are still guaranteed. You may also use segregated funds to bypass estate and probate fees.
Stocks & Bonds
A stock is a unit of ownership in a company purchased and sold in the stock market, also known as shares or equities. Bonds are certificates you receive for a loan you give to an issuer (government or company). In return, the issuer of the bond will pay you interest at a set rate and promises to repay the loan by a set date. Stocks and bonds require much more time and research to buy and trade in the markets.
Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)
If you are looking for a low-risk investment, a GIC might be right for you. Your invested capital is protected in a GIC so you don’t need to worry about fluctuating markets. As long as your money remains invested for the decided term (6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc.), you are guaranteed a specific amount of interest (either fixed or variable) on your contribution.
Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)
Exchange traded funds hold assets as an investment funds. Their value fluctuates daily as they are traded on stock exchanges. ETFs can be selected at varying risk levels to suit your risk tolerance.
A mutual fund is a type of investment in which the money of a group of investors is pooled together to buy a portfolio. The money is invested in a combination of stocks, bonds, options, money market instruments or other securities. Mutual funds are managed by finance professionals.